“Content is king.”

19 years ago, Bill Gates coined that phrase, and it remains true. How can a business determine the most effective content marketing practices to reach their goals?

Enter Stage Right: Content Auditing

Content is the lifeline of your website. It is the very reason people come to visit. If your web content is substandard, then it is safe to assume your website experience is also substandard. Content auditing is a process to analyze the posts currently on your website and determine best practices for future content marketing.

The content auditing process tends to be time consuming, especially for larger sites. However, completing an audit on your web content gives insight on why different types of content perform the way they do. These audits help to identify strengths and weaknesses in the quality of your content. The information acquired from this process allows you to know how to create better-targeted and engaging posts. When you improve your content, essentially, you improve your website.

Before starting a content audit, be sure of your content marketing goals so you know what information to look for. During the process, it’s much too easy to get lost in all the data you will uncover. Regardless of your content marketing goals, the following metrics will allow you to perform a basic content audit:

Title Page and URL

  • Ideal title tag lengths are between 50-60 characters, with a max of 70. Page titles that are too long may truncate in search engine results.
  • The title and title tag of your post or page should contain targeted keywords.
  • Page URLs should contain relevant words to the post as opposed to gibberish or numbers.

Meta Description

  • Limit meta descriptions to 155 characters, and write for humans as opposed to search engines.
  • Be sure to also include targeted keywords in your description.

Alt Tags

  • All images on your website should have an alt tag with a description of the image.
  • If you have videos hosted on your site (not embedded from another site like YouTube), you can create a video sitemap and submit it to Google via Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster Tools). Google provides more information on how to do that here.

Keywords

  • Each post or webpage should use one particular keyword, or focus keyword, in the title, title tag and meta description.
  • Consider keeping a list of the targeted keywords used on your website nearby during the audit.

Social Shares

  • There are many plugins or social share counters to keep track of the number of shares a given URL receives on major social media channels. SharedCount has a free service to allow you to do this.

Analytical Data

  • Some of the analytical data points you will want to consider evaluating are:
    • Page visits
    • Page bounce rate
    • Average time on the page
    • SERP Positioning

There are a multitude of other data points that you can consider, such as word counts or heading tags, that will give further insight. The metrics you choose will depend on your content marketing goals. There are no set rules about actions following a content audit. We suggest creating a list of recommended actions to take against any weaknesses you find in your marketing strategy.

The content auditing process isn’t particularly glamorous. It does provide you with essential information on the performance of your content. The knowledge gained will help you create better content that is successful in helping your company reach its marketing goals.

What do you look for during a content audit?